Extending relational database model for uncertain information

Abstract. In this paper, we propose a new probabilistic relational database model, denoted by PRDB, as an extension of the classical relational database model where the uncertainty of relational attribute values and tuples are respectively represented by finite sets and probability intervals. A probabilistic interpretation of binary relations on finite sets is proposed for the computation of their probability measures. The combination strategies on probability intervals are employed to combine attribute values and compute uncertain membership degrees of tuples in a relation. The fundamental concepts of the classical relational database model are extended and generalized for PRDB. Then, the probabilistic relational algebraic operations are formally defined accordingly in PRDB. In addition, a set of the properties of the algebraic operations in this new model also are formulated and proven

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Journal of Computer Science and Cybernetics, V.35, N.4 (2019), 355–372 DOI 10.15625/1813-9663/35/4/13907 EXTENDING RELATIONAL DATABASE MODEL FOR UNCERTAIN INFORMATION NGUYEN HOA Department of Information Technology, Saigon University Faculty of Information Technology, Industrial University of Ho Chi Minh City nguyenhoa@sgu.edu.vn  Abstract. In this paper, we propose a new probabilistic relational database model, denoted by PRDB, as an extension of the classical relational database model where the uncertainty of relational attribute values and tuples are respectively represented by finite sets and probability intervals. A probabilistic interpretation of binary relations on finite sets is proposed for the computation of their probability measures. The combination strategies on probability intervals are employed to combine attribute values and compute uncertain membership degrees of tuples in a relation. The fundamental concepts of the classical relational database model are extended and generalized for PRDB. Then, the probabilistic relational algebraic operations are formally defined accordingly in PRDB. In addition, a set of the properties of the algebraic operations in this new model also are formulated and proven. Keywords. Probability Interval; Probabilistic Combination Strategy; Probabilistic Relation; Pro- babilistic Functional Dependency; Probabilistic Relational Algebraic Operation. 1. INTRODUCTION Although the classical relational database model [3, 4], denoted by CRDB, is very useful for modeling, designing and implementing large-scale systems, it is restricted for representing and handling uncertain and imprecise information that are pervasive in the real world [6, 11, 13]. For example, applications of the CRDB model can neither deal with queries as “find all patients who are young”; nor “find all patients who are at least 90% likely to catch either hepatitis or cirrhosis”, etc. Here, “young” is a vague concept that can be defined by a fuzzy set [28] or a possibility distribution [17], and “hepatitis or cirrhosis” uncertainly expresses a patient’s possible diseases that can be represented by the discrete set comprising of the two diseases. Meanwhile, “90%” is the uncertainty degree, i.e., probability, of that whole fact about the patient. To overcome the shortcoming of CRDB, this model has to be extended for uncertain and imprecise information. For building database models, uncertainty and imprecision are two different aspects of information that require respective theories and methods to handle. In particular, the fuzzy set theory is employed to express and handle imprecise information and extend CRDB to fuzzy relational database (FRDB) models, meanwhile the probability theory is used to re- present and manipulate uncertain information and develop CRDB to probabilistic relational database (PRDB) models. c© 2019 Vietnam Academy of Science & Technology 356 NGUYEN HOA Up to now, many FRDB models have been built, e.g. in [1, 17, 20], and a large number of PRDB models have been proposed, e.g. in [2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 14, 16, 22, 24, 27], respectively for representing and handling uncertain and imprecise information. However, no model would be so universal that could include all measures and tackle all facets of uncertain and imprecise information. Thus, new databases model still continue to be developed for modeling data objects of the real world. PRDB models have been extended from CRDB in these two main directions [11] (1) at the attribute level, where uncertain values of an attribute are defined by a probability associating with a value on the domain of that attribute; Or (2) at the relational tuple level, where attribute values are precise, but each tuple in a relation is associated with a probability measure that expresses the uncertainty degree of that tuple in the relation. For instances, in [2, 6, 9, 13, 15], the value of an attribute was assigned to a probability to represent the uncertain level for that attribute to take the value. The models in [22, 27] allowed the value of each attribute associated with a probability interval to represent the uncertain degree of both the probability and the value that the attribute could take. More flexibly, the model in [7] represented the value of each attribute as a probability distribution on a set. It means that each attribute associated with a set of values and a probability distribution expressing possibility that the attribute can take one of values of the set with a probability computed from the distribution. The models in [18, 19] extended more the model in [7], where a pair of lower and upper bound probability distributions is used instead of a probability distribution as in [7]. In [10, 26], each tuple in a relation had an uncertainty degree, measured by a probability value for it belonging to the relation. The model in [5] extended the models in [10, 26], where used a pair of lower and upper bound probabilities [23] instead of a probability to represent the uncertain degree for a tuple belonging to a relation. The models mentioned above are extensions with probability of the CRDB model in different levels to represent uncertain information of objects in practice. However, these models still have the restrictions. Particularly, regarding the models in [2, 6, 9, 10, 13, 15, 26], the probability associated with each tuple or each attribute value is not always determined exactly in practice. The models in [7, 18, 19, 22, 27] overcame the shortcoming of the models in [2, 6, 9, 13, 15] by estimating a probability interval or a pair of lower and upper bound probabilities for each attribute value of relations. However, in [7, 18, 19, 22, 27], the uncertain degree of each tuple in a relation was not represented. Meanwhile, in contrast for the models in [5, 10, 26], each tuple had a probability for it belonging to a relation but the attribute value of the tupe is single and the probability for that attribute taking the single value was not known. In this paper, we propose a new probabilistic relational database model (PRDB) that combines the representable relevance and strength of both the relational attribute level and the relational tuple level for dealing with uncertain information. To build the PRDB model, we express the value of an attribute as a finite set and associate each relational tuple with a probability interval, then we propose a probabilistic interpretation of binary relations on sets and use the combination strategies on probability intervals in [8] to define all the basic concepts and probabilistic relational algebraic operations for PRDB. It is due to combining both of the representable levels for uncertain information, our model can overcome the shor- tcomings of the above mentioned models to represent and manipulate uncertain information EXTENDING RELATIONAL DATABASE MODEL 357 in practice. Basic probability definitions as a mathematical foundation for PRDB are presented in Section 2. The PRDB model including the fundamental concepts such as schema, relation and probabilistic functional dependency is introduced in Section 3. Section 4 and 5 present probabilistic relational algebraic operations and their properties in PRDB. Finally, Section 6 concludes the paper and outlines further research directions in the future. 2. BASIC PROBABILITY DEFINITIONS This section presents some basic probability definitions to build PRDB for representing and handling uncertain information. 2.1. Probabilistic interpretation of relations on sets For computing the probability of a binary relation on atrribute values in PRDB, we propose the probabilistic interpretation of binary relations on sets as following definitions. Definition 1. Let A and B be sets, U and V be value domains, and θ be a binary relation from {=, 6=,≤,≥, ,⇒}. The probabilistic interpretation of the relation A θ B, denoted by prob(A θ B), is a value in [0, 1] that is defined by 1. prob(A θ B) = p(u θ v|u ∈ A, v ∈ B), where A is a subset of U, B is a subset of V and θ ∈ {=, 6=,≤, } assumed to be valid on (U × V ), p (u θ v|u ∈ A, v ∈ B) is the conditional probability of u θ v given u ∈ A and v ∈ B. 2. prob(A⇒ B) = p(u ∈ B|u ∈ A), where A and B are two subsets of U , p(u ∈ B|u ∈ A) is the conditional probability for u ∈ B given u ∈ A. Intuitively, given propositions “x ∈ A” and “y ∈ B”, prob(A θ B) is the probability for x θ y being true. Meanwhile prob(A ⇒ B) is that, given a proposition “x ∈ A” being true, prob(A⇒ B) is the probability for “x ∈ B” being true. Example 1. Let A = {3, 4} and B = {4, 5} be two sets on the domain {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6}. Then 1. prob(A = B) = p(u = v|u ∈ A, v ∈ B) = p(u = v|u ∈ {3, 4}, v ∈ {4, 5}) = 0.25. 2. prob(A⇒ B) = p(u ∈ B|u ∈ A) = p(u ∈ {4, 5}|u ∈ {3, 4}) = 0.5. 2.2. Probabilistic combination strategies Let two events e1 and e2 have probabilities in the intervals [L1, U1] and [L2, U2], respecti- vely. Then the probability intervals of the conjunction event e1∧e2, disjunction event e1∨e2, or difference event e1 ∧¬e2 can be computed by alternative strategies. In this work, we em- ploy the conjunction, disjunction, and difference strategies given in [8, 19] as presented in Table 1, where ⊗, ⊕ and denote the conjunction, disjunction, and difference operators, respectively. 358 NGUYEN HOA Table 1. Definitions of probabilistic combination strategies Strategy Operators Ignorance ([L1, U1]⊗ig [L2, U2]) ≡ [max(0, L1 + L2 − 1),min(U1, U2)] ([L1, U1]⊕ig [L2, U2]) ≡ [max(L1, L2),min(1, U1 + U2)] ([L1, U1] ig [L2, U2]) ≡ [max(0, L1 − U2),min(U1, 1− L2)] Independence ([L1, U1]⊗in [L2, U2]) ≡ [L1.L2, U1.U2] ([L1, U1]⊕in [L2, U2]) ≡ [L1 + L2 − (L1.L2), U1 + U2 − (U1.U2)] ([L1, U1] in [L2, U2]) ≡ [L1.(1− U2), U1.(1− L2)] Positive correlation (when e1 implies e2, or e2 implies e1) ([L1, U1]⊗pc [L2, U2]) ≡ [min(L1, L2),min(U1, U2)] ([L1, U1]⊕pc [L2, U2]) ≡ [max(L1, L2),max(U1, U2)] ([L1, U1] pc [L2, U2]) ≡ [max(0, L1 − U2),max(0, U1 − L2)] Mutual exclusion (when e1 and e2 are mutually exclusive) ([L1, U1]⊗me [L2, U2]) ≡ [0, 0] ([L1, U1]⊕me [L2, U2]) ≡ [min(1, L1 + L2),min(1, U1 + U2)] ([L1, U1] me [L2, U2]) ≡ [L1,min(U1, 1− L2)] 3. PROPOSED PRDB MODEL As for CRDB, the schema, relation, functional dependency and key are the fundamental concepts in the PRDB model. 3.1. PRDB schemas A PRDB schema consists of a set of attributes (as in CRDB) associated with a mem- bership function representing the lower-bound and upper-bound probabilities for an instance tuple of the relational attributes being true and is defined as follows. Definition 2. A PRDB schema is a pair R = (U , ℘), where 1. U = {A1, A2, ..., Ak} is a set of pairwise different relational attributes. 2. ℘ is a function that maps each (v1, v2, ..., vk) ∈ 2D1 × 2D2 × ... × 2Dk to a subinterval of the interval [0, 1], Di is the domain of the attribute Ai, i = 1, ..., k. We note that a precise value can be considered as a special set. That is, each precise value v ∈ D can be defined as a set {v} on D. Therefore, the above definition can accommodate relational attributes whose values are precise as in CRDB. Also, the PRDB schema is actually a generalization of the probabilistic relational database schemas in [6, 26, 27], where relational attributes could take only precise and single values. As in CRDB, the notations R(U , ℘) and R can be used to replace R = (U , ℘). In addition, each t = (v1, v2, ..., vk) is called a tuple on the set of attributes A1, A2, ..., Ak, the domain of each attribute A is denoted by dom(A). Example 2. Suppose a PRDB schema PATIENT(P ID, P NAME, P AGE, P DISEASE, P COST, ℘), where the attributes P ID, P NAME, P AGE, P DISEASE, and P COST respectively describe the information about the identifier, name, age, disease, and daily treatment cost of each patient, ℘ maps each information tuple of patients to an interval [α, β] ⊆ [0, 1]. EXTENDING RELATIONAL DATABASE MODEL 359 3.2. PRDB relations A PRDB relation is an instance of a PRDB schema in which each relational attribute takes a value set in its domain and each tuple takes a probability interval on [0, 1] as the definition below. Definition 3. Let U = {A1, A2, ..., Ak} be a set of k pairwise different attributes. A PRDB relation r over the schema R = (U , ℘) is a finite set {t|t = (v1, v2, ..., vk) ∈ 2D1×2D2×...×2Dk , ℘(t) = [α, β] ⊆ [0, 1]} where ℘(t) represents the probabilistic membership degree of t in r and Di is the domain of the attribute Ai for every i = 1, 2, ..., k. We note that each component vi of the tuple t = (v1, v2, ..., vk) in a PRDB relation r is a set in 2Di but the attribute Ai only takes one of the values in vi and ℘(t) expresses the uncertain membership degree of the tuple t, that is a probability between α and β. Definition 3 is a proper extension of the definitions of relations in CRDB and the models in [6, 26, 27], where the value of an attribute was certain and the membership degree of a tuple was 0, 1 or a single probability. As in [3, 7, 26], the PRDB model adopts the closed world assumption (CWA). It means, for every tuple t = (v1, v2, ..., vk) on the set of attributes U = {A1, A2, ..., Ak} of the schema R(U , ℘) such that ℘(t) = [0, 0] (Definition 2) then there does not exist any relation r over R including t. For each probabilistic tuple t, we write t.Ai and t.℘ to denote the value (set) vi and the probability interval [α, β], respectively. For each set of attributes X ⊆ {A1, A2, ...Ak}, the notation t[X] is used to denote the rest of t after eliminating the value of attributes not belonging to X. Example 3. Table 2 shows an example relation PATIENT over the schema PATIENT in Example 2. For the attributes P ID and P NAME, their values are assumed to be single, cer- tain. In reality, while being diagnosed, the actual disease of a patient may still be uncertain. Similarly, the treatment cost for patients is also not known definitely even as the patients know their diseases. Therefore, for the attribute P DISEASE, its values can be as certain as “tuberculosis” or as uncertain as {hepatitis, cirrhosis} meaning the patients disease could be either “hepatitis” or “cirrhosis”. For the attribute P COST, the value “85” means 85 USD per day, {175, 200} means that the daily treatment cost can be either 175 or 200 USD. Meanwhile, the probability interval [0.8, 1], for instance, expresses that the uncertain degree for the tuple (P442, Mary, 16, {hepatitis, cirrhosis}, {7, 8}) belonging to the relation PATIENT is between 0.8 and 1. Table 2. Relation PATIENT P ID P NAME P AGE P DISEASE P COST ℘ P115 John 65 tuberculosis {175, 200} [0.9, 1] P226 Anna 50 bronchitis 6 [1, 1] P338 Bill 30 cholecystitis 85 [0.7, 1] P442 Mary 16 {hepatitis, cirrhosis} {7, 8} [0.8, 1] P555 Paul {45, 46} diabetes {5, 6} [1, 1] Now, the notion of a probabilistic relational database is defined as follows. Definition 4. A probabilistic relational database over a set of attributes is a set of probabi- listic relations corresponding with the set of their probabilistic relational schemas. 360 NGUYEN HOA Note that, if we only care about a unique relation over a schema then we can unify its symbol name with its schemas name. 3.3. PRDB value-equivalent tuples A relational database model, either being classical or non-classical, does not allow re- dundant tuples in a relation, i.e., those whose respective attribute values are equal. For the model in [6], where relational attributes could take only precise values and the uncertain membership degree of tuples was a single probability value, the authors introduced the no- tion of value-equivalence. Two tuples were said to be value-equivalent if and only if their respective relational attribute values are equal. Then they should be coalesced into a single tuple with the same relational attribute values and the combined uncertain membership de- gree as the sum of their ones. Similarly, in [7], identical tuples as the result of the projection operation were also coalesced. In [26], the authors added the notion of ε-equality. Two tuples were said to be ε-equal if and only if they are value-equivalent, as defined in [6], and the absolute difference of their probabilistic attribute values is less than ε. In our proposed PRDB, since relational attribute values can be proper sets, the value- equivalence of two tuples is not the matter of “to be or not to be” as in [6] but to a certain degree. To be coherent with the probabilistic framework of the model, we evaluate the likelihood of the value-equivalence of two tuples and introduce the notion of ε-value- equivalence as follows. Definition 5. Let R = (U , ℘) be a PRDB schema, X be a subset of U , t1 and t2 be two tuples on X, ε ∈ [0, 1]. Then t1 and t2 are said to be ε − value − equivalent with respect to a probabilistic conjunction strategy ⊗, denoted by t1 ≈ε⊗ t2 if and only if ⊗A∈Xprob (t1.A = t2.A) ≥ ε. We note that, by Definition 1, prob(t1.A = t2.A) is the probability for the values of attribute A in t1 and t2 being equal. The introduction of ε-value-equivalence is to coalesce two PRDB tuples under some probabilistic combination strategy if their equality likelihood is greater than or equal to a certain threshold ε, or not to coalesce them otherwise. The definition of value-equivalence in [6] could be considered as a special case of our definition with ε = 1. Example 4. Suppose there is a new piece of information coming for John and the following tuple is added to the relation in Example 3: 〈(P115 John, 65, tuberculosis, 175), [0.8, 1]〉. Then the value-equivalence likelihood of these two tuples about John, namely t1 and t2, under the independence probabilistic conjunction strategy ⊗in is ⊗A∈{P ID, P NAME, P AGE, P DISEASE, P COST}prob(t1.A = t2.A) = 1× 1× 1× 1× 0.5 = 0.5 and t1 and t2 can be coalesced into the tuple t under the equivalent threshold ε = 0.5 and the independence probabilistic disjunction strategy ⊕in, where t.A = t1.A ∩ t2.A, ℘(t) = ℘ (t1)⊕in ℘ (t2). That is t = (P115, John, 65, tuberculosis, 175) with ℘(t) = [0.9, 1]⊕in [0.8, 1] = [0.98, 1]. EXTENDING RELATIONAL DATABASE MODEL 361 3.4. PRDB functional dependencies Functional dependencies play an important role in CRDB. In [18, 19] a probabilistic functional dependency was defined under the probability degree for values of two attributes being equal. Meanwhile, functional dependencies were not formally defined in previous works. For PRDB, our definition is as follows. Definition 6. LetR = (U , ℘) be a PRDB schema, r be a relation overR, ⊗ be a probabilistic conjunction strategy, X ⊆ U and Y ⊆ U . A PRDB functional dependency of Y on X under ⊗, denoted by X→⊗ Y, holds if and only if ∀t1, t2 ∈ r : ⊗A∈Xprob (t1.A = t2.A) ≤ ⊗A∈Y prob (t1.A = t2.A) . One can see that this definition subsumes that of CRDB. Also, it is easy to see that for every PRDB schema R(U , ℘) then U →⊗ Y with Y ⊆ U under all probabilistic conjunction strategies. Example 5. In every relation r over the schema PATIENT with the set of attributes U = {P ID, P NAME, P AGE, P DISEASE, P COST} in Example 3, the values of the attribute P ID, that describe the identifiers of patients, are single and pairwise different. Thus, for two tuples t1, t2 ∈ r and an attribute A ∈ U , prob(t1.P ID = t2.P ID) = 0, while prob (t1.A = t2.A) ≥ 0. So, ⊗A∈Y prob (t1.A = t2.A) ≥ 0 with Y ⊆ U , by Definition 6, there is the PRDB functional dependency P ID→⊗ Y in the schema PATIENT under all probabilistic conjunction strategies. As for CRDB, the values of the key attributes of a schema in PRDB are the basis to identify a tuple in a relation, as defined below. Definition 7. Let R = (U , ℘) be a PRDB schema, r be a relation over R, and ⊗ be a probabilistic conjunction strategy. A non-empty set of attributes K ⊆ U is a